Cos Hunt for Talent in Second-Rung Campuses Graduates from tier-II colleges seen as diligent, hungry for challenge and open to learning

Four months ago, Bombardier Transportation, the rail technology and manufacturing arm of global firm Bombardier, veered off the usual route in its six-month-long hunt for 34 young leaders in India.
The company bypassed the premier Indian Institutes of Technology and even the Indian Railway Service of Engineers cadre, and zeroed in on institutes like NIT Kurukshetra, GH Patel College of Engineering and Technology at Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat and Punjab College of Engineering for its nextgen pipeline of leadership talent.
Graduates in tier-II and tier-III colleges in small towns are more willing to learn, says Ajay Singroha, HR director, Bombardier Transportation India. “We could have recruited from the IRSE cadre or Indian Railways, but the latter is a public sector undertaking where entrepreneurial skills cannot be shaped and enhanced to determine your career,” he adds. Bombardier Transportation’s clients and projects include the Indian Railways, Delhi Metro and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MVRC). The focus on talent from tier-II and tier-III colleges has also been increasing at Maruti Suzuki and Emerson. Graduates from such institutes are seen hungry for challenging assignments, and are willing to stretch themselves. Moreover, unlike their counterparts from tier-1 institutions, they are often not in the race for sought-after jobs in management or software development.
Though Maruti hires from a mix of tier-I and tier-II colleges, the latter account for over 80% of recruitments. “This has been an increasing trend over the past few years,” says SY Siddiqui, COO, administration at Maruti Suzuki. The company has sourced graduates from NITs in Hamirpur, Durgapur and Bhopal, Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra and UPES, Dehradun. It plans to hire around 400 engineering graduates in 2013-14.
Since these graduates join straight after college, the focus is on grooming them for industry needs, says Siddiqui. Maruti has a four month induction programme in place which familiarises them with business verticals and focuses on personality development and communication skills in the corporate world. Guest lectures and training on behavioural aspects have also been included in the curriculum.
“In addition, to make them well-rounded professionals, we give them field training on social aspects,” adds Siddiqui. The company has ramped up its association with IGIT, New Delhi to increase the ratio of women graduates and has also adopted two womenonly Industrial Training Institutes at Jhajjar and Gurgaon in Haryana.
At Emerson, there has been a gradual increase in the number of engineering recruits from tier-II and tier-III colleges in small towns over the past four to five years. Many graduates from tier-I colleges are looking to move their careers quickly into perceived prestige roles such as software development or management, says William Kofahl, VP, HR for India, Middle East and Africa. Whereas aspiring engineers from tier-II and tier-III colleges are willing to take on challenging technical roles or roles that require pure engineering skills, he says. “These graduates have the fundamentals in place, are hardworking and willing to learn. They tend to focus on building a long career with an organisation that invests in their development,” he adds.
To smoothen rough edges like the lack of strong communication skills, the company has three customised training programmes for this pool of graduates to prepare them for leadership roles in technology and customer oriented domains. ‘Building relationships’ focuses on goal setting, learning collaborative techniques, understanding the company culture and the importance of being proactive. ‘Speaking with impact’ is a two-day session where graduates are exposed to business etiquette, corporate dressing, communicating with business units and global office counterparts. The graduates are taught effective written and verbal communication and listening skills in a 30-hour programme on business communication. Following these programmes, Emerson has follow-up sessions and refresher courses for the next 18 months.
“Through these programmes we want to build their confidence. We understand that responsibilities in a global company can seem overwhelming but they are not insurmountable,” says Kofahl.
Microsoft India has also increasingly started focusing on tier-II and tier-III colleges over the past few years to have a diverse set of engineering graduates, says Dalbir Singh, India staffing director. “We feel it is important to have a diverse workforce. Opportunities are few at such colleges and towns, and by tapping them we come across some very talented sets of people with strong algorithmic skills, and a passion for technology who we do not want to miss out on.”

Source : The Economics Times.

Date : 12/03/2013

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